Mash Central Bureau
THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is committed to providing quality, relevant and inclusive education to learners regardless of their physical condition.
This was said by Mashonaland Central Provincial education director, Mrs Naome Chikosha during the Inclusive Education Indaba/Commemoration of the Day of the African Child in Concession last week.
She said Government cannot guarantee children’s rights without putting into motion measures that will ensure learners with disabilities have access to quality education with the necessary modifications to suit their needs.
She said lack of information on the part of parents and caregivers has been the biggest sticking point with most of them resorting to hiding their children once they realise that they are disabled.
Mrs Chikosha said extensive stakeholder engagement within and outside Government and community outreach programmes have managed to get the message to the community that every child should be registered at his or her nearest school from where the presence or absence of a special need will be ascertained and referred accordingly.
“As a ministry, we endeavour to provide quality, relevant and inclusive education to our learners. We are determined to remove all barriers to education for children living with disabilities, real or imagined,” she said.
“Through extensive stakeholder engagement within and outside Government and community outreach programmes, we have managed to get the message to the community that every child should be registered at his or her nearest school from where the presence or absence of a special need will be ascertained and referred accordingly.
“As a ministry, we are for child friendly schools. Our infrastructure should be accessible to every learner regardless of disability. Educational psychologists in the ministry conduct assessments for learners, determining the nature of disability and recommend the best psycho-educational option.
“We believe in not just getting learners with disability to school, but also giving them quality education that would give them as much benefit as other learners in the system.”
She said there are instructional units dotted across the province in mainstream schools where children with specific disabilities get their class and teacher for instructional purposes only and beyond that they will be mixing with their non-disabled peers.
Mrs Chkosha said a good example was at Amandas Primary School where there are two units for learners with hearing impairment and one for learners with visual challenges.